Guilt is a dish best served…in a pink Barbie suitcase

“We’re running away.” One twin announced, solemnly standing by her replica, pink Barbie suitcases in hand.
This was new. Previously I was notified of a potential change of residence or general displeasure by a suitcase strategically placed by the garage door. Packed with a stuffed bear and pounds of intended guilt.
I’d grown up in a family where guilt was an effective method to achieve a desired result. Wielded like a stealth weapon, often silently succeeding in achieving victory before the recipient was aware they were being played like a marionette. Even with an awareness that guilt was at play, one may be unable to resist succumbing, crippled like kryptonite to Superman.

It appeared that this was an inherited trait. Though my girls were unaware that I’d developed somewhat of a guilt-immunity after long-term, frequent exposure.
“Oh?” I acted nonplussed to the irritation of the two who’d expected perhaps howling or beating of my chest. “You know you’re not allowed out of the yard.”
“We aren’t. We’re staying in the tree house.”
Though moving up in the ‘I’m-running-away’ threat by planning on actually leaving the house, apparently the girls hadn’t realized when you ran away you weren’t supposed to; one- announce your location or two- choose the coldest day of winter thus far and three- escape to their so-called ‘tree-house’ in the backyard which lacked a roof. But, this was their first attempt and they were only five years old.
“You do realize how cold it is outside?”
Their heads bobbed in unison. “We’ve got three pair of pants on and two shirts.” They gestured to their extremities. Bulky, but not padded to the degree of ‘A Christmas Story’ where their arms stuck straight out like useless T-Rex appendages.
I raised an eyebrow, as their bravado didn’t fool me. One of them could barely make it across the parking lot the other day without yelling about her near death experience from the cold temperature. “Okay.”
“We’ll be having our lunch and dinner out there.” They hoisted up a bag containing a box of crackers, granola bars and water. Barely enough to sustain these two eating machines for a few hours, let alone all day.
“But don’t lock the door in case we get scared at night and need to come in.” Apparently the fear of freezing to death or starvation was not enough to frighten them as much as the mere thought of the boogey-men.
“And we’ll need to come in tonight to get a bath.” Laken, generally a bath-hater, chimed in. “Plus, breakfast and getting ready for school.”
Yasmine glanced out at the mounds of snow in the tree house. “We just need to get a few blankets to sleep with.” They wandered upstairs, never to return to fulfill their threat.
Apparently feeling as if their guilt-inflicting mission succeeded without being required to go out into the cold, later I put the Barbie suitcase, the teddy bear, two tired twins, and any guilt to bed… for the night.

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